Dementia 13 (1963) Review: Roger Corman Family Drama

“Which One Is The Killer?”

Synopsis: A scheming widow hatches a daring plan to get her hands on her late husband’s inheritance. Unbeknownst to her, she is targeted by an axe-wielding murderer who lurks within the family’s estate.

Dementia 13 (1963) Review Poster
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Calamity Brains:

When John Haloran dies, his gold-digging widow Louise shows up at the family estate to try and weasel her way into his aging mother’s will. Louise quickly learns that, in the grand tradition of horror movie families, everyone in the Haloran clan needs some serious therapy. The matriarch has the vapors, the youngest son Billy has night terrors, and the family has a ghoulish yearly tradition of re-enacting their sister’s funeral. (Despite the name of the movie, nobody actually has dementia.)

Family outsiders in the form of widow Louise, fiancee Kane, and overly-helpful Dr. Caleb help the audience piece together what actually went wrong for the Haloran clan all those years ago. Meanwhile, people keep mysteriously disappearing all over the estate. Though the ending is not particularly surprising, there are a number of odd (but later explained) occurrences throughout the movie that keep the audience guessing.

Since Dementia 13 is a Roger Corman film, the special effects are on the bare side, but there are still some nice touches in the underwater scenes, and one surprisingly graphic staged body. (There are also a lot of gratuitous panty shots, which seems fairly risque for the time.) If you’re into family drama thrillers, it’s not a bad watch.

Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+
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Calamity Brains

The Codex Mortis Horror Hosts (Ludwig von Stroodle and Calamity Brains) are married and live in West Virginia. Pretty much everyone who sees their cabin agrees that it would be an ideal setting for a horror movie. Their pets include a black widow spider, a smart dog, and a stupid dog. When they aren’t watching horror movies, they can be found at whiskey festivals, Renaissance fairs, and board game nights.

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